One of my all-time favourite hand tools is the ‘inshave’ also known as a ‘scorp’ and comes under the title of Draw Knives.

Coopers originally used these tools to reach down into the cask/barrel to smooth and level the joints between the staves that make up the cask.  They were also used to clean the inside of the cask after use when they became foul smelling known as ‘stinkers’.

Along with Spokeshaves, these tools are considered one of the purest forms of the woodworker’s craft.

Today, these tools are mainly used by Windsor Chair makers to hollow out the chair seat.

However, with the client’s request, I have found great use in them to provide a textured and tactile finish to my tabletops giving an age-old lived-in look and feel.

I have two favourites, firstly the Ray Iles inshave https://www.oldtoolstore.co.uk/ This has quite a tight radius curve and can remove material very quickly therefore care and concentration is required not to overdo the finish or this will make the final sanding so much harder and time-consuming. not good!

My second inshave is the Two Cherries https://www.kirschen.de/en/Home.htmlhttps://www.kirschen.de/en/Home.html. This one has a flatter blade radius and is more forgiving, especially when working interlocking or wavey grain timber such as Elm.

So there we are, my two special hand tools. I hope you find the chance to try them.